Not much is known about St. Valentine of Rome. His story may even combine accounts of two different people. He lived in the third century, served as a priest in Rome, and died on February 14. He is said to have performed miracles, including restoring a young girl’s sight. The gaps in his biography lead the Catholic Church to stop celebrating his feast day in 1969, although the Church still recognizes Valentine’s sainthood.
We do know one more important fact about Valentine: he defied the Roman emperor by secretly performing Christian marriages. That defiance ultimately caused the Roman Empire to martyr him. That’s why he has come to symbolize romantic love, and that’s why his holiday is so compelling: He celebrated love in spite of its hardships. He celebrated love when it was dangerous to do so. Valentine believed so much in romantic love that he risked his own life to celebrate it.
Father Bach once said something similar. He said that Catholic Charities has to take risks on behalf of the poor. He didn’t mean risking our lives the way Valentine did, but he meant stepping out of our comfort zones and trying something new just to benefit others.
At Catholic Charities, we honor St. Valentine by taking risks for love—the love of neighbor. We may not offer our clients candle-lit dinners and long-stemmed roses, but we strive every day to make sure everyone in our region has enough healthy food to eat and the dignity of companionship.
We invite you to consider ways you can help spread love to even more people in Eastern Washington by volunteering with Catholic Charities. We have many individual and group opportunities, and our staff is happy to help you and find the right fit for you.
You can learn about all our volunteer opportunities on our website, but here are just a few:
1) Give and Receive Volunteer Retirement Club: Catholic Charities invites retirees and seniors to participate in a unique and meaningful volunteer club that will provide the opportunity for participants to visit all 10 of our volunteer sites in Spokane with the goal of finding a permanent placement in one of our programs. Our next information session is March 6 from 1:30–2:30 p.m. Email Karen Orland to RSVP.
2) Childbirth and Parenting Assistance Program (CAPA): CAPA needs volunteers to help plan parties for young parents, sort clothes and organize diaper drives! Call or email Ashley Startin to RSVP at (509) 455-4971.
3) Food For All: Do you need space to run your youth gardening program? Adopt the Food For All greenhouse! It has child-height tables and plenty of space to let your project grow from spring to fall! For more information contact the Food For All Program at (509) 459-6163.
We wish you a happy St. Valentine’s Day, and we hope you take some time to celebrate and deepen your relationship with your own valentine.